Vauxhall whips up small Mokka, because the Juke demanded it
Vauxhall has unveiled its answer to the Nissan Juke. Called Mokka, it will debut at the Geneva Motor Show before going on sale in the UK near the turn of the year.
Nissan has had the supermini-based crossover market (that it invented) all to itself since the arrival of the Juke, but the next year or two will see a host of car companies finally reach the speeding bandwagon and jump onto it.
Ford will join the fray in with the Fiesta-based EcoSport, due in Europe early 2013, while Jeep is thought to be developing a B-segment SUV to be released around the same time, too.
While the Mokka isn't going to get anyone frothing at the mouth, it will, like the Juke, offer the high-riding, safe-feeling benefits of an SUV with the manoeuvrability of the Corsa on which it's based. Easy to park, innit.
The styling owes much to the Vauxhall Corsa and Antara, and although the interior is yet to be unveiled, we'd expect it to mimic the architecture of the former but with cabin quality improved to justify a circa-£15,000 starting price.
It's slightly bigger than the Juke, and has more boot space - up to 1,372 litres with the rear seats folded. The Juke offers only 830 on the same basis.
The SUV looks aren't just for show, as Vauxhall has already confirmed a 4x4 drivetrain for the car and alluded to genuine off-road ability, superfluous though that may be.
Hill Descent Control will be standard on all versions, as will Hill Start Assist, meaning that, like the grand old Juke, neither marching up nor marching back down the hill will be a major issue.
The 4x4 versions will use a torque transfer system that sends power to the rear axle only when extra grip is needed, meaning front-wheel drive will be the norm, conserving fuel.
A choice of three engines will be available from launch, comprising a 1.6-litre petrol with 113bhp, a 138bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol and a 128bhp 1.7-litre CDTI diesel. A manual gearbox is standard, though the two more powerful engines can be had with an auto.
Vauxhall says that the equipment list is cutting edge for a B-segment SUV, including traffic sign recognition cameras, lane departure warning, forward collision alert and bi-xenon lights with high beam assist.